As we take a
breather between the Oscars and the Daytime Emmys, I for one
am exhausted. One of my life's greatest ironies is
that I've always dreamed of experiencing the
glamour of the red carpet, and now that I'm
actually receiving invites to such events, I never want to
leave the house. Believe me, I'd rather be
curled up on the couch eating a bowl of macaroni and
cheese watching a Project Runway marathon.
Awards shows are
work. Think of them as great big office parties held in
a shark tank. Unless you're able to navigate the
waters, you will end up as chum. Nobody knows this as
much as yours truly. As the third banana on a sitcom
running on a network that is about to go under, I know my
place in the Hollywood food chain. I once had a
photographer yell at me to "get the fuck out of
the shot!" The celebrity he so desperately wanted to
snap? The Taco Bell chihuahua. Unless you're Cameron
Diaz, the awards show carpet can beat your ego to a
bloody red pulp. Here are some D-list tips for getting
in and out of the auditorium with your dignity intact.
1. Arrive early. Really famous people arrive minutes
before the show starts. If you arrive the same time as
Sharon Stone or a famous fast-food mascot,
don't expect anyone to pay attention to you. Your
goal as an attendee is to get your picture taken and
to talk to as many media outlets as possible. Photos
of you in magazines and footage of you on the 11 p.m.
news make it seem as if you're famous, even though
you've achieved absolutely nothing. Just ask
2. Don't go alone. Why experience the horror
alone? I always bring a pal and play "Celebrity
Photo Safari," where you try to get as many
photos as you can of yourself with your head next to someone
famous. Not only that, a good friend can make sure you
don't look like an asshole. I once attended an
awards show solo and spent half the evening posing for
pictures with salad in my teeth. Not a good look.
3. Touch the money. If you find yourself on the
carpet with a celebrity you actually know, touch them
as much as possible. Hug and kiss them as if you were
never going to see them again. This also guarantees
coverage. I once attended a premiere with Nia Vardalos, and
I did everything but put her entire head in my mouth.
The result? A full-page photo in The Hollywood
4. Don't take anything personally. You will
only get your feelings hurt. My very first Hollywood
event was the GLAAD Awards in 1999. I had written a
solo show called Pointless, which was about my
Internet dating experiences, and I was a nominee for
Best in Los Angeles Theater. I arrived at the check-in
table, and an intern with a headset told me I
wasn't on the list. I said, "Are you sure?
I'm a nominee. My face is in the program and
everything." Again, he insisted he couldn't
find my name as two other publicists elbowed past me
to walk Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jay Leno, and Elizabeth
Taylor into the auditorium. I was all set to leave
when a GLAAD representative, awash in apologies, rushed out
to escort me in personally. I could've stalked
out furiously and denounced my own community as the
biggest bunch of star-fuckers, but I got it. It's not
always going to be about you.
Besides, I really
wanted to meet Elizabeth Taylor.